Being omnivorous has led most people to believe that pigs will eat anything as long as it is edible.
Luckily, this post informs you about the top vegetables pigs love to eat and the parts and modes of preparation you should avoid in order to ensure no harm comes to them.
Cruciferous Vegetables Pigs Love to Eat
1. Bok Choy
Pigs love their leafy greens, and the deep green foliage and fleshy stalks of a bok choy are no exception. In addition to a pleasant eating experience, the vegetable is vitamin-packed to support bone health and a strong immune system.
While bok choy is not associated with any health issues in pigs, high consumption can lead to health issues in humans, which is why you can keep an eye on how much you give to your pigs.
Broccoli is a renowned superfood and for good reason. It is nutrient-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and protein making it a worthy addition to your pigs’ diet. In addition to their nutrient-dense nature, most pigs love to munch on their crowns, leaves, and stalks whether raw or cooked.
What’s more, a daily consumption of 600g of raw broccoli has been shown to cause a 27% increase in DNA damage while blanched and frozen broccoli doesn’t. (Source)
You can experiment with the various broccoli varieties to find the one that your pigs love the most. These could include:
- Eastern Magic
- Waltham 29
- Sun King
- Purple Sprouting
- Green Magic
Like broccoli, cauliflower is packed with a ton of vitamins C and K, making it a great addition to your pig’s diet.
In addition to cooked and raw cauliflower versions, you can opt for the fermented version, which has more health benefits, especially for weaning piglets. Besides improved growth, fermented cauliflower introduces probiotics into the piglets’ digestive system and therefore, promotes a healthy gut.
Cabbage is equally nutritious to pigs as it is to humans. Thanks to its high fiber and vitamin content, you can rest assured that it promotes a healthy gut in your pigs while strengthening their immune system.
This way, you do have to worry about constipation issues in your drift or litter. Similarly, adding cabbage to your pigs’ diet is a great way to help them lose weight since the fiber makes them feel fuller faster. This is beneficial when you breed pigs for slaughter.
A cabbage-inclusive diet is, therefore, a great way to manage the growth of your litter. As beneficial as it sounds, avoid feeding cabbage stems, roots, seeds, and flowers to your pigs as they have been shown to negatively impact pig’s health.
The choice between raw and cooked cabbage comes down to your pigs’ preference. Keep in mind that while raw cabbage guarantees maximum vitamin benefits, blanching it increases its calcium content. It, therefore, comes down to what your pigs need more at any given time.
Here are more cabbage nutrients and their benefits.
|Manganese||Promotes growth and reproduction|
|Vitamin C||Improved immunity and growth|
|Magnesium||Fights stress and erratic behavior|
|Calcium||Facilitates skeletal system development while regulating bodily functions like blood clotting and weight gain|
|Folate||Promotes the survival and growth of piglets|
|Potassium||Maintains electrolyte balance and neuromuscular function|
|Vitamin K||Promotes bone health and blood clotting|
As beneficial as cabbage is, keep in mind that it cannot be the center of your pig’s diet. It is, however, a fantastic way to supplement its daily diet.
5. Brussels Sprouts
You cannot go wrong with Brussels sprouts for your pigs and mini pigs.
Thanks to the high amounts of vitamin C, you can rest assured that your pigs have a healthy immunity system combined with the benefits of other valuable vitamins like K, iron, and folate.
Leafy Green Vegetables Pigs Love to Eat
Being a renowned healthy vegetable, the health benefits of spinach cut across the board, making it a valuable addition to your pig’s diet. As a superfood, spinach is not short of vitamins and antioxidants that will massively benefit your pig.
Some of these valuable nutrients include:
- Fatty acids: Spinach is loaded with poly and monounsaturated fats that promote healthy development as well as protect your pigs from diseases like scurvy.
- Folic acid: Makes it easier for your pigs’ body to absorb other vital nutrients while supporting healthy bone development.
- Vitamin K: Aid the formation of blood, the clotting process, and bone development while preventing blindness.
- Vitamin E: Promotes a healthy heart by maintaining low cholesterol levels.
- Beta carotene: Keeps your pigs free from scurvy.
- Vitamin C: Aids in collagen production to support healthy bones and connective tissue. It also prevents scurvy.
Nothing beats a reasonable addition of fresh, raw, or cooked lettuce to your pig’s diet.
Vitamin K, on the other hand, helps maintain healthy blood pressure in your pigs, while promoting healthy bone development. Like spinach, lettuce also comes with a commendable amount of fatty acids making it a great vegetable to supplement regular pig feed.
To ensure that your pigs get maximum nutrients, always be keen on only fresh vegetable produce. For instance, the nutritional value of lettuce declines fast when left out after harvest.
Kale is another healthy vegetable to introduce into your pigs’ diet. Offer your pigs and mini pigs the leaves and stems wilted or crunchy and they will love the refreshing, moist feel.
This is especially if you are looking to increase their vitamin C intake. Blanching and freezing can drastically reduce the vitamin C levels in this superfood, making it less beneficial to human beings and animals like pigs.
Similarly, vital minerals found in kale risk leaching out during blanching, thereby affecting the end product. The potassium content is especially notorious for being easily lost, even though only a small about of it may be lost.
Kale is packed with fiber, calcium, and antioxidants, making it a healthy option for your winter ration for minis and pot-bellied pigs. You will be surprised at how much weight your pigs can gain on a diet of kale, especially when mixed with a grain diet.
As healthy as kale may be, too much can lead to bloating, hence the need to be careful.
Marrow Vegetables Pigs Love to Eat
Pumpkins are as safe and nutritious for your pigs as they are for humans. Therefore, do not shy away from feeding them to your pigs whenever you have an excess, especially during fall and Halloween.
As a superfood, pumpkins contain various vitamins and nutrients that support a healthy gut and skin in pigs.
The best part about pumpkin is that your pigs can safely consume every part of it from the vines, leaves, skin, and seeds. For instance, you can mix raw or roasted seeds into your pig feed, or you can creatively prepare the skin and leaves, and your pigs will enjoy it.
Lastly, with significant amounts of fats, protein, copper, potassium, fiber, manganese, vitamin A, C, B2, E, and iron, adding pumpkin into your pigs’ diet will:
- Boost immunity system
- Promote digestive health
- Promote healthy skin and vision
While these are the majority of vegetables pigs love to eat, it is crucial to keep an open mind. Like humans, pigs can also develop eating habits causing them to be fussy about some in general or about how they are offered.
The trick is to learn how your pigs like any of these and then focus on offering them in a more palatable way. That said, only offer either of these vegetables in recommended ways. For instance, kale should never be frozen even if your pigs seem to prefer it that way.